WADA states expectations for Valieva investigation
The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has reiterated the organization’s expectations for “accelerated” progress with the investigation into Russian Olympic figure skater Kamila Valieva. Russian officials announced last week that they had concluded their probe into Valieva’s case, with a hearing set for the end of September or early October.
“We know the date when the hearing is so we have to wait until the decision and then WADA will decide what to do,” WADA president Witold Banka said at a Global Education Conference in Sydney on Tuesday, as quoted by Reuters.
“We are monitoring this issue very closely and last month I expressed my will that they have to accelerate the process. Now that we know the hearing could be very soon. Let’s see.”
Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) director general Veronika Loginova confirmed last week that the investigation into Valieva and her team had been concluded, and that “there will be a procedure for processing the results in accordance with international standards and requirements.”
The next stage of the case will be a hearing at RUSADA’s anti-doping disciplinary committee (DAK).
Valieva, 16, emerged as the biggest story of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics after it was reported that she had tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine based on a sample taken six weeks before the Games began.
By the time the positive test result appeared, Valieva had already competed in the team event in Beijing, helping the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to gold.
Valieva was then cleared to feature in the women’s individual event after an emergency hearing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Despite being the strong gold medal favorite, the teenager finished a disappointing fourth as the ordeal took its toll, while compatriots Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova won gold and silver respectively.
RUSADA has since been tasked with investigating the circumstances of Valieva’s positive test – which the skater’s team have suggested may have come via contamination from medication her grandfather was taking.
The medals for the Beijing 2022 team event won by Russia have still not been awarded after the ceremony was postponed in the wake of the news of Valieva’s positive test.
The USA finished in second place, with Japan in third and Canada in fourth.
Commenting more broadly on the two-year WADA ban imposed on Russia due to claims of state-sponsored doping and manipulation of laboratory data – allegations denied by Russian officials – Banka said there remains an “open line of communication” ahead of the planned expiration of the sanctions in December.
“We have to wait for the end of the year, we monitor what they are doing, let’s see in the next weeks or months what happens in terms of (readmitting) them to the system,” said the Pole.
Meanwhile, Valieva and her fellow Russian skating stars are currently banned from global competition following a ruling by the International Skating Union (ISU) in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.
They will instead appear in domestic competitions which are planned for the coming months by Russian officials.